A month ago, Ima Kate and I were driving from Sacramento to Berkeley with two excited girls in the back seat. All the things they owned fit in the trunk of the Honda Civic that was now driving them toward a new life. Kate and I had expected sadness and fear in the face of this huge transition, but the girls were exuberant in the backseat. A few tears of joy escaped from my eyes, as I kept repeating in disbelief, “I’m a parent. I’m a parent. I’m a parent”
The first few weeks felt surreal. I spent more time asking myself “Am I parent?” than feeling confident in our relationship. Quickly, we grew to know and trust one another and today I can confidently say, “I am a parent.” It’s pretty cool being part of the parents’ club.
I feel like I should write something glamorous to mark the passing of time, a retrospective of what was and what is, but I don’t know what to write. So much has changed in a month, but so much has also stayed the same. Tantrums have been managed, grief has been cried out, trust has been established, and love has been reinforced. The girls have remained wonderful through it all.
Before they came home, the social workers asked us how things were going during our pre-placement visits. I always responded positively – the kids were great, we were lucky to be matched with them. Everyone said it was a honeymoon stage, that it’s still a honeymoon stage.
People have said that about me and Kate for years. That we’d stop being so codependent and want some alone time, that we’d grow apart, at least a little. It’s been five years, and we’re the same; I think it’ll be the same with the girls.
Maybe it’s because of how we define “great.” We’re awed by their resilience, their capacity to love, and their amazing ability to explain their emotions. It’s not to say there aren’t trying times, or times when they’re being a typical annoying child. We’re saying that even when they’re acting their worst, their hearts are huge, they love us lots, and they try their best. That’s all we could ever want from them.
Having children is the best adventure I’ve ever taken. On the first day home, I wrote on Facebook:
Welcome home, Estella and Serenity. Today's car ride home, the proverbial ride home from the birth, equaled the joy of my wedding, and it was hard to hold back my tears of joy as your giggles filled our car. The evening's temper tantrums were the drum beat to my joy, as my heart celebrated, "I'm a parent. I'm a parent. I'm a parent." Today is one of the best days of my life. Welcome home.
I still feel that way, only now, I’m more exhausted. I’m so glad you’re home, E and S, and I can’t believe how lucky we were to have found such amazing kids. I don’t know how we got so lucky, but (as we say in our house), it must be a G-d thing, because it sure wasn’t anything we could have planned out. Thank you, World, for granting us such amazing gifts. I'm so happy I get to go on this adventure with such amazing people.